Author: Helen Farrell

Editor-in-Chief of The Florentine, Helen writes about food, wine and all things literary. She is also a freelance contributor to Decanter. Email her at and follow her on Instagram @helencfarrell.
April 6, 2018


‘Eat them now or wait for another year’ sums up the agretti affair. Depending on the weather, these grass-like leaves appear in greengrocers for six weeks or so every spring. Known as saltwort or monk’s beard in English, I stumbled across some in the last week of February, a whole month earlier than usual, “because […]

Spring 2018 wine events in Tuscany

Fill your glasses this April as wine-centric events are decanted throughout the region. From exhibitions to tastings, winery visits and festivals, you’ll be saying cin cin to Tuscany all month long.     Wine and art in the Valdarno The springtime exhibition Alchemies between Land and Sky. Wine Culture in the Organic Age at Il Borro […]
March 10, 2018

Topinambur and clams

Topinambur is a beautiful word, conjuring up a wonderful world of princes and castles, unicorns and open-top silver carriage rides while snowflakes flutter on our faces. Then reality bites that the Jerusalem artichoke, as we call it in English, has nothing to do with Jerusalem and everything to do with mispronunciation. Also known as sunchokes […]
March 7, 2018

Beating gold into glory: Giusto Manetti Battiloro

A treasure trove of artisan expertise and inspired marketing is concealed on an industrial estate in the outskirts of Campi Bisenzio, northeast of Florence. Giusto Manetti Battiloro has been beating gold into leaf for decorative purposes worldwide since 1820. It all began when Luigi Manetti bought a Florentine goldbeater’s workshop in via de’ Pescioni, near […]
March 1, 2018

How The Florentine stands strong in 2018

Even before I sipped my espresso, I was sourcing and posting a white Duomo for the pleasure of everybody who loves Florence as much as I do.

How “fico” is FICO?

Op-ed on "the world’s largest agri-food park"
February 5, 2018

The man behind Pitti Uomo: Andrea Cavicchi

Andrea Cavicchi, president of Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana, talks about the future of fashion and Florence as a centre of it all
February 2, 2018

Purple potatoes

Forgive me while I wax lyrical about purple potatoes—again. One lunchtime, my excitement at this tubular discovery resulted in my foisting violet mash on The Florentine’s team at our usually laid-back communal table. A native of the Peruvian Andes, the vitelotte noire have sunken their roots into Tuscan soil, in the Casentino. Oblong and knobbly, […]
January 13, 2018

The perfect espresso

How many times have you walked into a bar and drank a coffee even though it tasted rancid or was lacking in flavour? It’s astonishing how little we know about—and how little we appreciate—the world’s most important drink after water. Tommaso Bongini, master barista of Tuscan roastery Caffè Mokarico, explains the golden rules to making […]
January 11, 2018

2018: the year ahead in Florence

From quidditch (!) to the council’s quest to ditch pesky potholes, the opening of two new tramlines, international volleyball and top global music acts, 2018 in Florence is set to be more eventful than ever. JANUARY Gucci Garden in piazza della Signoria  Fashionistas and foodies are itching to check out the all-new opening of Gucci […]